Kevin Magnussen fastest on F1 return, Ferrari hype builds ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix


SAKHIR, Bahrain — With sooner or later of preseason testing remaining, F1 returnee Kevin Magnussen set the quickest lap of the week with a time set throughout an prolonged interval of operating for his Haas group.

Magnussen, who beforehand raced for Haas from 2017 to 2020, changed Russia’s Nikita Mazepin on the group forward of this week’s take a look at. On his first day again within the automotive, he pushed Carlos Sainz off the highest of the timesheets with a lap 0.325s faster than the Ferrari driver utilizing the identical compound tyre.

The time was set throughout an prolonged interval of testing for Haas, which was laid on after the opposite 9 groups had completed the common take a look at session. The additional hour on Friday — in addition to an extra three hours on Saturday — was granted to the group to make up for the time it misplaced on Thursday after its freight received delayed on the best way to Bahrain.

Throughout Friday’s common eight hours of testing when all ten groups had been on monitor, Sainz set the quickest lap with an effort 0.4s away from the remainder of the sector. The time was additionally set on the C4 compound tyre — Pirelli’s second softest on provide — and was quick sufficient to carry off a comparable try by Max Verstappen within the Crimson Bull on the identical compound.

Gas hundreds and engine settings are unknown outdoors every group’s storage in testing, so it is attainable that Verstappen’s time would have been in an identical ballpark had all issues been equal, however it may be the case that Sainz might need prolonged his lead — as proven by the spectacular tempo of Magnussen’s lap later within the night.

Both method, one other robust exhibiting from Ferrari on Friday helped to implement the rising opinion that the Italian group has made the strongest begin to 2022 beneath F1’s new technical laws.

And whereas Ferrari seems to be again on the sharp finish of the grid, reigning constructors’ champions Mercedes might be in hassle.

The group debuted its closely revised W13 automotive on Thursday however has struggled to extract efficiency from it over each days of this week’s take a look at. Lewis Hamilton cycled via single lap runs on Pirelli’s softest compound tyres in the direction of the top of the session, however his finest lap time on the C5s was nonetheless 0.609s off Sainz on C4s and 0.934s off Magnussen.

When requested after the session what the results of subsequent weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix could be if it was held tomorrow, Hamilton mentioned: “I actually do not know. I feel Ferrari… from what I can see as we speak Ferrari would in all probability be getting a one-two.

“Or possibly Crimson Bull”.

Sainz downplayed this speak throughout Friday’s press convention when requested a couple of quote from Hamilton’s teammate George Russell suggesting Ferrari are favourites going into the March 20 opener.

“Typical Mercedes, typical George,” Sainz laughed. “Simply hype up the others after which come to the primary race and blow the competitors away.

“If it might be the primary yr they’ve finished it then I’d possibly consider them however they’ve finished it for 5 or 6 years now they usually maintain shocking us within the first race.”

Mercedes have received eight consecutive constructors’ championship, an F1 document.

The upgraded Mercedes appeared troublesome to drive and continued to bounce up and down on the pit straight because the group experimented with methods of curing the porpoising points it has suffered all week. On the plus facet, George Russell managed to finish a race simulation within the morning session, which ought to have given the group loads of information to work via and discover enhancements.

The second day of the Bahrain take a look at additionally proved to be a little bit of a automotive breaker, with 37 levels Celsius (98 levels Farenheit) warmth stretching cooling options to the restrict.

Essentially the most dramatic failure occurred on the Williams when the rear brakes of Nicholas Latifi’s automotive caught fireplace because the desert warmth peaked round noon. The primary signal of hassle got here when smoke began pouring from the rear wheels of the automotive, however Latifi tried to make it again to the pits within the hope the airflow would extinguish the fireplace.

He received so far as Flip 13 — two corners from the pit lane — when the left rear wheel buckled beneath the warmth and cornering load, inflicting the automotive to spin off into the run off space. Flames engulfed the rear of the automotive as soon as it stopped and a small explosion occurred as a marshal tried to place out the fireplace.

Each Latifi and the marshal had been unhurt, however the situation put an finish to Williams’ operating after simply 12 laps. McLaren continued to handle brake cooling points through the second day of testing after its operating on Thursday was additionally restricted by brake issues. Though the group didn’t expertise something as dramatic as Williams’ fireplace, Lando Norris was restricted to 54 laps on Friday after simply 50 laps on Thursday. Within the ultimate hour, Norris additionally stopped on monitor moments after leaving the pit lane, inflicting a purple flag.

Norris was not alleged to be driving the McLaren on Friday however was subbed in when Daniel Ricciardo was dominated out for a second day in a row with an sickness. Ricciardo felt unwell on Thursday morning, which means he missed yesterday’s take a look at session too, however the group has confirmed he has not examined constructive for Covid-19.

Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo additionally prompted a purple flag when his automotive stopped at Flip 9 within the ultimate minutes of the morning session. The FIA had hoped to check its race restart process with a mock grid on the finish of the session, however after lining up on the grid for an aborted begin process, Bottas’ automotive stopped on monitor on the next lap earlier than the grid might reform for a race-style restart. Bottas completed the day 11th quickest total.

Esteban Ocon additionally prompted a purple flag within the afternoon when his Alpine stopped on monitor. He had loved a productive day as much as that time, with 111 laps in complete by the chequered flag, and the sixth quickest time.

Sebastian Vettel stopped on monitor within the Aston Martin within the ultimate hour of the morning session, however shortly returned to the monitor as soon as the automotive had been recovered, suggesting there was no main situation with the automotive. Teammate Lance Stroll took over the Aston Martin within the afternoon and set the fourth quickest lap with a time 0.857s off Magnussen utilizing the identical C4 compound.

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